Elon alumna Shelby McKay ’13, senior academic advisor at George Washington University, provided a keynote address at the May 7 awards ceremony, highlighting her professional path and the influence of Elon’s community, while also sharing words of wisdom with the soon-to-be graduates.
The Department of Sport Management hosted its senior banquet and awards ceremony on May 7, recognizing high-achieving members of its graduating class for their accomplishments and service.
Presented in conjunction with the student-run Sport Management Club, the annual event kicked off in Alumni Field House with a dinner followed by a guest lecture from Elon alumna Shelby McKay ’13, senior academic advisor at George Washington University. In her role, McKay works with institution’s women’s basketball, swimming and diving, sailing, and volleyball programs. She also is responsible for George Washington’s tutoring and study hall program, first-year experience program, postgraduate scholarships and award nominations.
Banquet photos are available on the School of Communications Flickr page.
During her lecture, McKay admitted that she considers herself a planner, but she led the attendees through the unexpected changes she's encountered during her educational and professional path. This included switching her college choice to Elon, after placing a deposit elsewhere, and her decision to change majors once on campus.
“I like to plan out my days, but plans change,” she said.
The alumna noted the importance the Sport Management Department and its faculty played in her development, as well as her on-campus experiences and her internship with the Atlantic Coast Conference during her senior year. She recalled being in the ACC offices when conference realignment in college athletics became a major issue, and the upheaval that followed.
Since beginning her career as a graduate assistant in campus recreation, McKay has steadily risen the ranks at George Washington, working toward graduate degrees along the way. McKay completed her master’s degree in higher education administration in 2015, and started her doctoral work last fall in the same field. Additionally, she is an adjunct professor in the Milken School of Public Health, teaching a first-year transition course she created.
“I never envisioned teaching a class, but I was inspired by my experiences in Elon 101,” she said.
While she’s made George Washington home, the lessons she learned at Elon stay with her, McKay explained. In fact, colleagues and students have taken note that she frequently references her time “under the oaks.” “I probably mention Elon at least once a day,” she said.
In her closing, McKay stressed the importance of identifying one’s core values, and finding positions and outlets that align with them. Additionally, she called for the sport management majors to remain connected to the department and assist each other during their professional journeys.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today with Dr. (Tony) Weaver and the other faculty members in this department,” McKay said.
Following McKay’s remarks, the department presented several awards, including its Major of the Year Award to Serena Archer ’19. Kyle Sarazin ’19 received the Achievement Award, JP Meibohm ’20 took home the Outstanding Underclassman Award, and Bradley Klier ’20 and Riley McSheffrey ’21 were both presented with endowed scholarships.
Caroline Cirby ’19 also received the James P. Drummond Service Award, named in honor of the founding department chair of Leisure and Sport Management (later renamed Sport Management). The award is presented to a student in recognition of outstanding contributions to Elon University and the campus community.
The executive board members of the Sport Management Club were also recognized at the ceremony. These board members included Carrigan Bain ’19 (president), Ryan Cranston ’20 (vice president), Kevin Cunningham ’19 (treasurer), Caroline Cirby ’19 (secretary), Kristina Grigos ’19 (secretary), Summer McCorkle ’21 (director of athletic relations), Kyle Sarazin ’19 (co-director of analytics), Brian Finci ’19 (co-director of analytics) and Jenny Ceci ’21 (director of community events). The student organization is advised by Associate Professor Tony Weaver.
Organized by Ceci and McCorkle, the event was emceed by Tori Baliatico ’19 and Olivia Warhop ’19.
Sport Management Senior Class